Morning Must Reads: August 30

In the news: Syria and the Black Budget

  • Share
  • Read Later
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

  • “The Obama administration laid the groundwork for unilateral military action, a shift officials said reflected the U.K.’s abrupt decision not to participate and concerns Bashar al-Assad was using the delays to disperse military assets.” [WSJ]
    • “Can the U.S. attack Syria without the Brits standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Americans? Of course, it can. But more importantly, should it?” [TIME]
    • “The Iraq effect…has dramatically raised skepticism about the U.S. government’s rationale for applying military force in the name of American security.” [TIME]
    • “President François Hollande of France on Friday offered strong support for international military action against the Syrian government…” [NYT]
    • Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Diane Feinstein tells TIME a congressional vote is not necessary for Syria intervention. The New York Times reports “nearly 200 House members from both parties have signed letters calling on the president to seek formal congressional approval for military action.”
    • “In the world’s second-largest refugee camp, Syrians find that it’s not easy to flee the war.” [New Yorker]
    • 69% of Americans want the U.S. to either provide arms to the opposition (6%), provide only humanitarian assistance (40%), or take no additional action (23%). Only 26% endorse military action. [NBC poll]
    • Retired General Wesley Clark on Syria vs. Kosovo [USA Today]
  • The Washington Post reveals $52.6 billion “black budget” for fiscal 2013 with the aid of Edward Snowden. 4 points:
    • 1) “Spending by the CIA has surged past that of every other spy agency, with $14.7 billion” requested for 2013.
    • 2) “The governments of Iran, China and Russia are difficult to penetrate, but North Korea’s may be the most opaque.”
    • 3) ”The CIA and the NSA have begun aggressive new efforts to hack into foreign computer networks to steal information or sabotage enemy systems.”
    • 4) Before Snowden, they were worried about an employee like him: “The NSA planned to ward off a ‘potential insider compromise of sensitive information’ by re-investigating at least 4,000 people this year who hold high-level security clearances.”
    • Interactive Graphic
  • “The U.S. commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden was guided from space by a fleet of satellites, which aimed dozens of receivers over Pakistan to collect a torrent of electronic and signals intelligence as the mission unfolded.” [WashPost]
  • “The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced on Thursday that when it comes to federal tax purposes, same-sex couples who have legally married will be treated the same as straight married couples, no matter what state they reside in now.” [NPR]
  • “The Justice Department will not sue to block state laws that legalize small amounts of marijuana.” [Politico]
  • Jerry Brown’s Tough-Love Miracle [Rolling Stone]